Integrating professional geotechnical practice into the curriculum

David F T Nash

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Although we cannot teach geotechnical experience, we can integrate professional geotechnical practice into the curriculum and start to develop students’ own experience. This paper describes activities developed at the University of Bristol aimed at linking theory and practice in geotechnics to support the professional
development of MEng Civil Engineering undergraduate students. Through undertaking geotechnical designs, planning and interpreting site investigations, and studying case histories showing the use of geotechnical instrumentation,
students deepen their knowledge and understanding, and appreciate the importance of engineering geology.A minority of students participate in an optional field course during which they examine soils, rocks and geomorphology of coastal landslides. Another optional course on soil-structure interaction provides a structured introduction to the use of geotechnical finite element analysis. These activities are found to engage the students and deepen their learning to a greater extent than traditional lecture courses. By the time they graduate many students can solve routine geotechnical problems but are hopefully aware of the limitations of their knowledge. Some of them are inspired to become geotechnical professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShaking the Foundations of Geo-Engineering Education
PublisherTaylor & Francis Group
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-62127-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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